FERGIE FUMES AT ROONEY TREATMENT
Wayne Rooney went from villain to victim as Manchester United lost 2-1 at Chelsea on Monday night – and manager Alex Ferguson was far from happy.
Fergie was fuming after referee Martin Atkinson failed to red card Blues defender David Luiz for a late challenge on his striker just minutes before the match winner.
Rooney and Luiz had both scored in a pulsating match before a disputed penalty, converted by Frank Lampard, proved decisive in the 80th minute.
Ferguson was adamant afterwards that the penalty was ‘soft’ and that Chelsea should have been down to 10 men at the time.
“The penalty kick was so soft,” said Ferguson. “Deary me. But we played very well. It was a great performance by us. We didn’t deserve that.
“That’s three years in a row at Stamford Bridge that referees’ decisions have changed the game.”
Rooney was in the wars this time after allegations that referee Mark Clattenberg went easy on him when he elbowed Wigan’s James McCarthy on Saturday.
The boot was on the other foot when Luiz chopped down Rooney with a late tackle at Stamford Bridge.
Fergie added: “It was incredible. Even before that he’d done Chicharito off the ball. He’d done him late. Nothing done, the referee’s in front of it.
“He does Rooney clear as day, the referee is six yards from it, he doesn’t do anything. That changed the game.
“These are decisions that change the game. And he’s going to be refereeing every week.
“But I’m proud of the players. They’ve endured a lot of decisions against them but they’ve come through it, they’ve done their best. They’ve created good chances. They didn’t deserve that.”
Asked about Chelsea’s title chances, they now trail United by 12 points with a game in hand, Ferguson replied: “If they get decisions like tonight then it can change everything.
“They got a lot of decisions tonight that surprised me.”
BOSS SAYS CHELSEA STILL CAN’T WIN TITLE
Chelsea celebrated a famous win over EPL leaders Manchester United on Tuesday night but manager Carlo Ancelotti is still adamant they can’t win the title.
The Blues are now 12 points behind United with a game in hand and a trip to Old Trafford in prospect before the Championship is decided.
But Italian Ancelotti says Champions League qualification must be the focus for his team, insisting the defence of their title is now beyond them.
“We are too far from Manchester United,” said Ancelotti. “It’s difficult for them to lose points in the next few games.
“We have to concentrate on ourselves and look not too far in the future. I cannot believe we are this far behind, but we have to be honest.
“This is where we are in the table, and United have played with more consistency than us.”
Ancelotti’s match-winner Frank Lampard was more hopeful of his team’s chances of clawing United back after a win that also did second placed Arsenal a huge favor.
“We just had to win the game, close the gap and send out a signal that we’re still fighting,” said Lampard.
“There’s still a long way to go - Manchester United are still deservedly top of the league at the moment.”
Asked about the failure to send David Luiz off for his controversial tackle on Wayne Rooney, Ancelotti added: “The referee took some decisions, but I don’t want to judge them.
“There was a lot of intensity and it was not easy for the referee to decide every time.
“Luiz could be lucky but there was a lot going on on the pitch so the referee decided he didn’t see this.”
“David scored an important goal, the key to the game, and he’s a very good player.”
Arsenal want to swap Brazilian midfielder Denilson for his compatriot Felipe Melo at Juventus who have also been linked with former Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano, currently out of the first team picture at Barcelona.
Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge is prepared to sign full-time for loan club Bolton at the end of the season.
Tottenham could make a shock move for Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner.
Liverpool have edged ahead of Tottenham and Manchester United in the race for France and Toulouse midfielder Moussa Sissoko.
Chelsea have sent scouts to watch Napoli’s Slovakian playmaker Marek Hamsik.
Former Celtic winger Aiden McGeady could move from Spartak Moscow to their Russian rivals Zenit St Peterbsurg.
Andy Carroll could finally make his Liverpool debut at home to Manchester United on Sunday.
Spurs have all but given up hope of having star player Gareth Bale fit for their Champions League return clash with AC Milan next week.
Carling Cup winners Birmingham have told Lee Bowyer and Sebastian Larsson they will have to wait until the end of the season to discuss their futures.
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson will turn to Wes Brown to deputize for the suspended Nemanja Vidic at Liverpool on Sunday.
Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini, who missed Tuesday night’s FA Cup defeat at home to Reading, is out for the rest of the season with an ankle injury.
Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry has claimed his team are no longer title contenders.